A SUSPECTED arson attack brought renewed focus on the state of a derelict Gomersal building.
The roof of the Maccess building on Spen Lane went up in flames at around 8pm last Saturday.
Fire crews from Dewsbury, Batley, Brighouse, Odsal and a specialist aerial unit from Bradford tackled the blaze.
Witnesses reported seeing children playing in the building shortly before the blaze.
The building’s owner, Castlerock Capital, sold the site – a magnet for vandals – to a housing developer in April and it is now earmarked for demolition.
Former Tory councillor Derrick Yates, who lives nearby, wants the area rid of the factory.
He said: “Maccess has been a big bone of contention for years. It was left derelict and the owner refused to pull it down.
“It’s ugly, dangerous and brought yobs to the area who see setting fires as some sort of entertainment.”
He added: “From where the fire was on the roof, I can’t see it as having started accidentally.
“And due to the number of other incidents there’s very little combustible material left inside the building.”
He suggested yobs could have got in through boarded-up windows and then climbed an internal staircase to the roof.
Mr Yates said Kirklees Council, as with properties in Dewsbury town centre, had struggled to make the owner do anything.
“Kirklees are a bit lacking in their enforcement powers because it is a private property,” he said.
“If the council had been able to find a way to do something, I’m sure it would have been done years ago.”
He added: “The factory has always been in the wrong place. It’s a residential area and housing would be more suitable.”